Hypothyreodism describes a reduced function of the thyroid gland, leading to low levels of thyroid hormones. Depending on age affected animals may develop a great variety of complaints.


Urgency level 3


Danger level 3


Depending on the age of the patient, the disease can provoke most different symptoms whereas the disease mainly appears with middle-aged to old dogs. Small breeds are affected with less frequency. Boxer, Doberman and Golden Retriever are rather affected. Puppy-dogs: The sub-function is either passed on or the dog got it in puppy age. The symptoms mainly impact the development process of young dogs. In many cases the animals are born in weak condition and often euthanized. Otherwise, affected animals are dwarfed; the extremities are shortened and plump. The animal is regressed in its physical development. It appears still like a puppy in later age, since the head and the eyes are still quite large in comparison with the short body. The animal often loses its hair and is regressed in mental development, which may be expressed by slow reactions, much sleep and inactivity. Adult dogs: The symptoms evolve slowly with an obtained hypofunction of the thyroid. Owners have the feeling that their dog quickly grows old. The hypofunction may provoke symptoms in nearly all organs. In many cases the symptoms however are limited to hair and skin regions of the dog. The animal loses its hair - often symmetrically around the torso, suffers from bacterial infections or gets dry skin. Typically, such an animal scratches itself frequently due to skin diseases. Additionally, despite constant ingestion it gains weight, appears dull and lethargic and sleeps much. Possibly, considerably more symptoms of different organs are to be observed.


The hormones released from the thyroid gland regulate the metabolic cycle of the dog. A hypofunction of the thyroid gland causes a lack of these hormones what slows down the metabolism. Depending on the cause, different types of hypofunctions of the thyroid gland are distinguished. Basically, the hypothyroidism can be passed on, or be caused by inflammations, traumata (injuries) or tumors. The hypofunction, however, may also exist when the thyroid gland is regulated insufficiently, what can be the case when the pituitary gland does not distribute a sufficient number of controlling hormones.


The diagnosis of a hypofunction of the thyroid is extremely difficult. There are numerous diagnostic measures which can be applied. If the diagnosis is confirmed the treatment is quite simple. Generally, pills with thyroid hormones are to be administered, these must, however, be given for life. The dosage depends above all on the body weight of the patient and requires control of the veterinarian since an overdosage is to be avoided. After the beginning of the therapy, quickly an amelioration results, where skin and hair problems will require most time for regeneration (about two months).

Emergency measures

In case of appearance, aggravation of the symptoms indicated before, or in case of development of new symptoms, you should call the veterinarian at next opportunity and agree upon a date within the next days or week. The symptoms are sometimes lately noticed as symptoms of a hypothyroidism. In case your dog is at the beginning of the therapy, you should consult a veterinarian above all in case of increased urine discharge since possibly the medication could be overdosed. Panting or permanent restlessness can be named as further indications.

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